What Can Manufacturers Do During the COVID Slump? Part 2/2

15 Oct 2020 02:00 PM By Dan Telep

In the previous blog in this series we outlined a number of steps that manufacturers can take to optimize safety and operations, and make the most of the downturn due to COVID. due to the pandemic.

Let’s continue this in-depth look at what manufacturers can do during the COVID slump:

1. Prioritize Your Supply Chain

Most supply chains are under a lot of strain at the moment due to the various ways in which this pandemic has impacted vendors supplying crucial components and raw materials. It is likely that your vendors may not be functioning at full capacity and even if they are – transport for these components and materials might be limited. Consider alternative sources so that limitations in your usual supply chain do not stall production. There are companies that specialize in helping manufacturers with alternate sourcing of parts and components.

2. Review & Clean Up Your Data

Now is a great time to review and clean up your data. A huge volume of data flows into your systems. However, a large quantity of your historical data may be inaccurate or no longer required. This information may pertain to customer, vendor, part, marketing, sales or organizational information. Data such as Bill of Materials and Engineering Masters drive material and production planning, so it must be accurate. Do a deep dive of your data and clear out what is not required, and ensure data accuracy for optimized production.

3. Research Alternatives to Help You Rebound

During this economic slowdown research competitors and their strategies. You can begin sketching a plan for new innovative projects that have always been on the backburner. Thinking of ways to repurpose aspects of your production line to meet current demand for essential commodities might give your business a competitive edge financially when the economy begins to pick up pace again. Think along the lines of – is there something new you can offer to benefit people during the pandemic? Can you keep staff occupied in other ways or even begin an additional line of production on the side?

4. Re-evaluate Shop Floor Design

In the event that your shop floor is not being fully used, you have the opportunity to re-design for improved efficiency. Examine and re-design areas that have hindered workflow and efficiency.  With the number of staff reduced you can have a clear bird’s eye view into how you can remodel your shop floor to help your production flow seamlessly. Have you considered running staggered shifts during the pandemic to cope with limited manpower? Have you explored your ability to provide real-time information to each shift to prioritize tasks and production? Keep in mind that you may need to ramp up quickly and use overtime when demand returns as normalcy resumes.

5. Review Remote Access Models

Every business has had to make its workforce adapt to the realm of remote functionality. For a few companies the change may have been smooth, but for others it may have been more haphazard with the implementation of new hardware and means of production. Once your staff is accustomed to the process you could reconsider how these remote processes are being conducted. Are they being handled in the best possible way that is also cost-effective? What could use improvement? Is the cloud in your future and will virtual conferencing be the norm for your team? Explore free trials of software to provide your team with the tools they need for the job, and explore what works best for your team.

6. Understand Your Customers

Businesses are often too preoccupied to forge more meaningful communication and relationships with their customers. This is a good time to ask how your customers are doing and if you can help them in any way. These insights can help you cater to them better and such actions will garner  goodwill – an extremely valuable asset in the long run. If you don’t have the opportunity to speak to your customers directly during these challenging times, study their business and update your customer data. Updating or launching a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system will prove advantageous in the future when the downturn ends.

If you’d like to explore cutting-edge, disruptive technology to tackle the hurdles of the pandemic, we would be glad to help. Essential Software Solutions Inc. has Industry 4.0, ERP and Cloud expertise, and over 4 decades of experience supporting businesses across Canada in expanding market share and boosting revenue. We can support you with best practice guidance on establishing a contingency plan for the COVID slump. We can also help identify the right ERP software for your organization’s requirements and help you implement it. Reach out to our team at ESS to find out more.  

Read Part 1 of this blog